March 17, 2017 / 11:29 AM / 5 months ago

Fraport expects Lufthansa to grow long-haul at Frankfurt

A logo of German airline Lufthansa is seen before the company's annual news conference at the airport in Munich, Germany, March 16, 2017.Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The operator of Frankfurt airport, Fraport (FRAG.DE), said on Friday it expects Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) to grow its long-haul business at the hub despite a row over a foray by budget airlines into the airport.

"I expect that long-haul will continue to grow at Frankfurt, and concretely at Lufthansa," Fraport Chief Executive Stefan Schulte told journalists at a news conference after the group published its 2016 financial results.

Fraport last year signed up Ryanair (RYA.I) for routes from Frankfurt, which has unleashed a row with Lufthansa, Fraport's biggest customer, over incentives for new routes from which Lufthansa says the Irish low-cost carrier is benefiting disproportionately.

Lufthansa has threatened it could route more transfer flights through Munich or Vienna instead of Frankfurt.

Fraport CEO Schulte said talks with Lufthansa over airport fees in Frankfurt were constructive and would continue into April.

"We have a very intensive, deep, broad business relationship with Lufthansa. In such a relationship there are always some days that are more difficult," he said.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Arno Schuetze

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